Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, the only Hispanic Republican in the Senates, said he is resigning on Friday, according to Fox News.

My priorities have always been my faith, my family and my country and at this stage in my life, and after nearly 12 years of public service in Florida and Washington, it's time I return to Florida and my family, said Martinez, who had already ruled out a run for re-election in 2010.

So today I'm announcing my decision to step down from public office, effective on a successor taking office to fill out the remainder of my term.

In an interesting turn of events, Gov. Charlie Crist, the leading Republican to replace Martinez in the U.S. Senate, will have the power to appoint someone to fill the remainder of Martinez's term.

However, Crist has denied that he'd appoint himself. Some speculate that Crist might step down as governor, thereby elevating Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, who could then appoint Crist to the Senate.

Martinez was born in Cuba and grew up there until he fled alone to become a refugee in Florida at the age of 15.

Yesterday, he voted to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and was one of just nine Republicans to do so.